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On DRC, UN Report Falsely Claims Compliance with Rights Diligence Policy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20 – The UN's report on its mission in the Congo, dated February 15, is full of contradictions.

   To choose one: at Paragraph 52 the UN says “at least 126 women, including 24 girls, were reportedly victims of sexual violence by FARDC soldiers in Minova and surrounding villages, Kalehe territory, between 20 and 22 November. Eleven FARDC elements have been arrested so far and are awaiting trial.”

   But it is not clear that these 11 arrests were for rape.

   After refusing to answer Inner City Press' questions on November 27, December 7 and December 18 about the rapes in Minova by the UN's partners in the Congolese Army FARDC, the UN's Herve Ladsous on February 6 told Inner City Press that the UN knows the identity of the majority of the perpetrators of the rapes.

   But after follow up questions in writing and in person by Inner City Press, the UN has said that no action will be taken or changes made until the Congolese investigation is completed.

  The February 15 report at Paragraph 37 claims, however, that the UN mission MONUSCO's continuing support to FARDC is “provided in strict compliance with the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on UN Support to Non-UN Security Forces.”

  That policy provided that once the UN knows of Non-UN Security Forces involvement in abuses like mass rape, the UN can no longer support them.

   But here, Ladsous says the UN knows the identity of the Minova rape perpetrators; the UN says it has not instituted any changes.

  If this is “strict compliance” with Ban Ki-moon's “Human Rights Due Diligence Policy,” the policy is meaningless.

  So why did breathless, overplayed retyping of aspects of the UN report S/2013/96 entirely ignore this? See last night's media critique of Reuters' UN "reporting," here.

  See also the January 27 first video #LADSOUS2013, and the first February 17 follow-up on lack of financial disclosure, #BanLadsous2013.  Watch this site for more to come.

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